8. I haven’t used Linked in since I signed up for it. I’m too behind. I know who you are, because last January 1st I got a slew of Connections Requests accepted by you and others who believe this myth. People are re-discovering Linked in every day, and with some basic maintenance, it can be a great resource.
7. Isn’t it a business site? Yes. Treat your art as your business. This is a great tool to find those people who can refer you for gigs or roles and engage with them on a purely professional yet social level. There are Discussion Groups, Companies, Job Listings, counts on how many people viewed your profile. No more wondering if you are ‘presumptuous” to ask the Casting Director at CTG to be a "friend," when it’s much cleaner to request a "connection."
6. What if there are people who I wouldn’t want to have as connections? You can ignore them. Rather, you can be a lion* - accepting and pursuing all connections regardless if you’ve met - or you can be a lamb - accepting only a very selective group based on a clear policy. Whichever route you choose is up to you; there are still plenty of public ways to connect with people on Linked in without being connections. If you seek a position where part of the work is the simple act of finding the work, you may want to consider being a lion. Roar!
*I stole these terms completely from Linked in Expert Viveka von Rosen. Check her out!
5. I am freelance | an artist | have gaps in employment | do too many things. I call you all (and me) Slashers. The resume we’re all taught is our ticket to a job doesn’t really cut it for artists. The people interested in artists know a lucky few make their living entirely in the arts, or doing exactly what we love.
The following are good examples of Slashers (my term) and how they formed their Linked in Profiles:
4. No one really looks at Linked in before casting someone.
Probably not. But if you’re trying to get an audition/interview/meeting, and they have a question about your history, many people do search for your name. If one of the first things to arise is an incomplete or obviously stagnant profile, you may be seen as someone who does not control their own branding, and thus career. I have personally made decisions based on puzzle pieces found only through candidate’s websites or profiles. Lori Johnson believes, and I agree, that not having a LI profile or using an incomplete one directly hurts your professional image.
3. A Bio (Summary) isn’t important.
This is where it all comes together. This is where you explain the philosophy that attracts your ideal collaborators. This is where people learn why I call myself a Storyteller when that is really a convenient term to embrace the Slasher within me. It’s where I could tie a client’s social work and corporate marketing background into a viable candidate for nonprofit PR. Focus on your bio. Have five people who know you at various levels read it and have them say the first three words that pop into their head to describe that person.
2. No one needs a Linked in profile. Won’t they just ask for my resume?
That makes a huge assumption: that you’ve already gotten on an employer’s radar, that they actually read your cover letter, that your email didn’t get lost in the shuffle. Linked in allows employers to find you, allows you to find potential employers, and give them much more of your essence than any part of the old-fashioned recruiting process, including the interview. I used to recruit. We have tons of questions that will often send your resume directly into the “No” Pile. I’ve personally had three potential gig-ployers ask me for a Linked in profile and didn’t bother with resume.
1. There’s no way to tell if it’s working.
On your Home Page, you can add a widget that looks like the following:
Who's Viewed Your Profile?
13 Your profile has been viewed by 13 people in the past 7 days.
28 You have shown up in search results 28 times in the past 3 days.
So not only can I see most of the people who are viewing my profile, I can use that information to re-connect, newly connect or just know that it’s working.
I firmly believe in keeping a list of places and people with whom you want to work. Otherwise, how do freelance artists of any sort keep consistent work? Linked in allows you to continue that barrier between your personal and professional life that Facebook so dearly wants to eliminate. I highly encourage you to use it!
Cindy Marie Jenkins is a Storyteller who is obsessed with outreach and the disconnect between nonprofits, civic leaders and the communities they serve.